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Diplomacy

Beijing warns Ottawa not to seek allies in disputes

Both countries have arrested each other’s citizen in an escalating diplomatic row.


Written by

Updated: January 21, 2019

Chinese Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye has warned Ottawa not resort to “microphone diplomacy”, given that rallying support from other countries won’t help resolve problems between the two countries.

Speaking at a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Lu said it would be a bad idea for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland to use next week’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to seek support against China.

Beijing hopes Ottawa will agree to dialogue to resolve problems bilaterally and help their relations return to the right track, Lu added.

Ties between China and Canada turned sour last month after Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, at the request of the United States.

Lu called Canada’s arrest of Meng “politically motivated” because she did not violate Canadian laws. She was detained at Vancouver International Airport on a US arrest warrant concerning fraud allegations related to sanctions on Iran.

Canada has embarked on a campaign with allies to press China for the release of ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, who were detained in China on suspicion of engaging in activities endangering national security.

Lu defended China’s detention of the two Canadians, saying they are charged with violation of Chinese laws.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tried to recruit additional international support in Canada’s disputes with China. Freeland said earlier this week the detained Canadians will be at the top of her agenda when she visits Davos for the World Economic Forum next week.

China will not be isolated in the international community and will not waver in its position simply because of the objection of a few countries, Lu said. Both sides should use bilateral channels for talks instead of resorting to microphone diplomacy, he added.

The problems in China-Canada relations have hurt bilateral exchanges and cooperation, for which Beijing will not be held accountable, Lu said.

Lu said it is “for sure” that the rift between Beijing and Ottawa will influence their negotiations for a free-trade agreement.

China has considered trade relations with Canada to be important and will continue, as always, to advance bilateral trade cooperation, Lu said. The country stands ready to advance free trade negotiations with Canada when the time is ripe.

Lu also urged Ottawa not to follow some of its Five Eyes intelligence-sharing allies in banning Huawei from building a 5G network in their countries. The alliance includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.



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About the Author: ANN’s Board member Ms Esther Ng, Malaysia’s The Star’s Chief Content Officer, has been bestowed the 2019 Asian Women Entrepreneurs Leadership Award in the Media and Communications category.

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